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Uganda: The Grand Coalition Goes To War
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February 18, 2012: Uganda will be playing an increasingly important role in the African Union’s peacekeeping mission in Somalia (AMISOM). Uganda will provide at least 6,000 troops (up from 5,200) and possibly more. The newly authorized total strength of Ugandan and Burundian forces is 12,000. Burundi currently deploys around 4,400 soldiers in Somalia. If the present AMISOM ratio is a rough guide, Uganda could be asked to provide 6,400 to 7,000 soldiers. Ugandan forces will continue to be deployed in Mogadishu but also establish a base area in Baidoa. The expanded AMISOM force will include Kenyans. Around 4,700 Kenyans will be assigned to southern Somalia (basically the Kismayo area).

February 16, 2012: The hunt for the Lord's Resistance Army’s senior commander, Joseph Kony, has not led to his capture but Uganda has reaped some diplomatic rewards. Since November 2011, the African Union has been committed to eliminating the LRA. That rates as a political success for Uganda. South Sudan and the Congo are now active Ugandan allies against the LRA. The Central African Republic (CAR) participates in a regional system to monitor LRA activities and alert Ugandan and UN forces (ie, UN forces in the Congo). The CAR lets Ugandan forces operate in its territory against the LRA. Organizing this public and multi-national cooperation rates as a significant political achievement. Still, the LRA has shown that it can operate in a very large area, over 200,000 square miles (500,000 square kilometers) in three countries. This is a lot of territory to monitor. That’s why some 80 to 100 US special operations soldiers remain deployed at forward operating bases in the Congo and the CAR, to help gather and interpret intelligence and then guide counter-insurgency efforts.

February 15, 2012: Seven LRA gunmen ambushed two men in Kulugbangu, Congo.

February 6, 2012: The Ugandan Army held a special ceremony to award medals and ribbons to current and former soldiers in commemoration of the 1981 National Resistance Army uprising.

January 25, 2012: The latest rumors once again have LRA commander Joseph Kony hiding out in the CAR. He is supposedly in an encampment west of the Chinko River (an isolated area in the CAR). Scattered LRA attacks continue in the Congo (abductions and lootings). LRA gunmen may be responsible for the murder of three people in Barraoua, CAR on January 18. However, LRA cadres in the CAR have been comparatively quiet – gone to ground in the lingo. The presence of US Special Forces advisers has added a new psychological pressure. The US advisers carry weapons but only for self-defense. However, the advisers have access to a range of intelligence gathering capabilities Ugandan, Congolese, and Sudanese forces lack. And the LRA gunmen know it.

January 18, 2012: The government said that it has evidence that Somalia’s Al Shabaab militant Islamist organization is still planning terrorist attacks inside Uganda. Al Shabaab bills the attacks as retaliation for Ugandan participation in AMISOM. The Ugandan military says that Al Shabaab has learned that Ugandan soldiers are tough targets. Attacking Ugandan civilians (soft targets) is easier.

January 5, 2012: The government has asked the Congolese government to take action against Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebels believed to be operating in the Congo near the Uganda-Congo border. The ADF has ties to Al Shabaab.

December 31, 2011: The government estimated that the LRA has approximately 250 active fighters. Recent estimates have varied from 300 to as low as 100 fighters. The LRA fighters are still capable of launching attacks on unprotected villages.

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